New App Spotlight: Geak Camera
Do you love adding filters to the snapshots you share on Instagram and Facebook, but wish you could see the filtered effects live while taking the shots? Senior XDA Forum member Flying Snail‘s new app is here to help. Geak Camera contains a pack of eight filter effects, two aspect ratios, and an intuitively minimal interface. Nothing here is inherently unique, but at only four days old this app is chock full of potential.
Eagle eyed readers may remember Flying Snail and the Geak brand from other projects around the forums, like the custom launcher and app suite known as Geak OS. In this case, the app suite that already includes a compass, calculator, and tape recorder is getting an upgrade with this new camera addition laser-focused on capturing the imagination of the Instagram crowd.
The app is spartan, featuring a simple shutter button flanked by gallery and filter shortcuts. On the top, an icon controlling the flash can be toggled between on, off, and auto, while a second icon flips the camera from front to back. Shooting modes, of which there are three, neatly display just above the shutter, and are adjusted with an easy flick left or right.
Live Filters – These eight filters are the meat of the app, and come packaged with transition animations for a stunning effect. Tap the filter icon, and the viewfinder shrinks down into part of a 3×3 grid, each portion of which showcases a different color tint on top of the same live feed (with the center reserved for the filter-less standard). Tap a tile, and its thumbnail expands to once again fill the screen. This simple transition gimmick reinforces the connection between visual elements, and is a welcome change from the static thumbnails in most filter-changing apps.
On offer are three gray-scale tones (mono, tonal, and noir), and five color filters (nostalgic, fade, dew, transfer, and plain). All appear to subtly alter the color profile and contrast both on-screen, and in the resulting images.
Quick image capture – Several reviews note the speed of image capture, and I heartily agree. Tapping the shutter, clicking the volume rocker, and holding the shutter in to capture on release all work lightning fast (even on my Nexus 6). There is a slight frame-rate drop when opening and closing the filter menu, but this is to be expected with such a graphically intensive animation in the first build of an app.
Tiny Footprint – Flying Snail is quick to point out that Geak Camera takes up a mere 437 kb – far less than a standard jpeg. With such a small footprint, there’s little down-side to keeping this app in your drawer while it steadily improves. The most notable aspect of the file size, however, is that it indicates lean coding practices (or at least a lack of features). Apps like the QuickPic gallery have garnered a rabid following thanks to this talking-point (among other things), so it will be interesting to see how Geak Camera stacks up as new options are added.
Camera – Does as it says on the tin. This mode shows as a white shutter button with the word “camera” emblazoned in red just above. All eight filters are present here. It should be noted that the camera takes shots at 16:9 as opposed to 4:3, resulting in a slightly cropped image when compared to the capability of most camera sensors.
Video – Swipe left of center, and you enter the video mode. Here, the shutter button turns red, and is accompanied by text reading “video.” Unfortunately, live filters are not (yet) supported, and I was unable to capture usable video on either the Nexus 6 or Galaxy S3 due to an abundance of compression artifacts on the former, and failure to even start on the latter. I suppose you can call the Nexus 6 version an additional “stylized output” feature but I’m going to chalk it up to the bugs of an initial release. The Nexus images did look great through the viewfinder, and photos snapped with the secondary on-screen shutter button turned out perfectly.
Square – Swipe right of center, and a smooth animation narrows the view-port to a perfect square, allowing you to take pre-cropped profile photos with ease. Like the camera mode above, all eight filters are supported.
Many camera apps with similar features litter the marketplace. For example, Pomelo offers a more robust experience with an included editor, grid lines, separate focus & light metering points, and more. Qamra is another stand-out that is off the beaten path, though less capable and more cluttered than Geak. Or for a more traditional app experience, there are a number of pro camera apps, and Lollipop-enhanced shooters that run circles around traditional point-and-shoots.
One thing is common among the competition – these apps are well established, and have grown into their respective niches. In contrast, Geak is a blank canvas oozing with potential, and giving off a strong first impression to stand out against fellow filter apps. At only ~400 kb, this camera is well worth the download for the chance to watch it mature. Better yet, Flying Snail promises that new features are already on the way, and is looking for feedback and suggestions in the forums on what to tackle next! This is your chance to help shape the vision of a fellow XDA member, and bolster the strength of our vibrant community.
What features do you look for in a filter-focused camera? Let us know in the comments, and strike up a conversation in the XDA Forum thread to help shape where Geak goes next!